Here you will find information about the changes happening in our community. Community Resources
WSU’s Elizabeth Weybright, whose research focuses on leisure and boredom, has insights for parents dealing with bored kids at home during this unprecedented pandemic. Click Here to Read More
At the request of Washington State University to encourage protection of the general public and office staff from infection of Coronavirus, the WSU Extension office in Cowlitz County will be closed immediately to the public until May 1. To protect clientele and office staff, the office closure will continue until confirmed by Public Health that the health emergency is determined to be over.
All educational trainings for the general public will be postponed until after July 1. Future meeting dates will be set after the emergency is deemed over by Public Health. The following meetings are postponed until Fall:
3/25 MG Workshop Rain Barrel
3/27 MG Workshop Native Plants
3/28 MG Workshop Berries
3/31 MG Workshop Worm Bins
4/1 MG Workshop Advanced Composting
4/7 MG Workshop Pollinators
4/9 WSU Workshop MG Panel
4/15 MG Workshop Hypertufa Pots
4/16 MG Workshop Seed Saving
4/17 MG Workshop Pollinators
4/21 MG Workshop Plant Supports
4/28 MG Workshop Native Plants
4/29 MG Workshop Making a Kokedama
4/30 MG Workshop Dahlias
“Protecting your finances during the Coronavirus pandemic,” Many excellent resources by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, click here.
Search Institute: Nurturing Relationships Online, Advice from Experts (YOUTH) – Check out this resource
As of April 3rd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all people wear non-medical face coverings when interacting with others during the coronavirus pandemic. A big question has been – how do those differ from medical-grade face masks? The CDC’s recommendation is voluntary and does not replace current social distancing and hygiene measures. Confused yet? Let’s break down what each of these kinds of protective measures mean. There are two kinds of protective gear being talked about here: medical-grade masks and non-medical face coverings.
Here’s what you need to know about how each of these masks and face coverings protect you:
Surgical mask – pictured below
You have likely seen these surgical masks when at the dentist. Health care professionals use them to prevent the splashing of fluids and to avoid the liquid of an infected person’s sneeze or cough from entering their mouth or nose (gross, I know). They are loose-fitting and allow airborne particles in. People commonly wear this type of face mask in Eastern Asian countries to protect themselves from smog and respiratory diseases, but these masks aren’t designed to block tiny particles from the air. These masks are disposable and should not be used multiple times. They should be thrown away after each use. Even though these are called “surgical masks”, they are not the same as a medical grade N95 face mask.
Face coverings – pictured below
Face coverings are meant to protect you in the same way that disposable surgical masks do, by blocking large particles and respiratory droplets. The CDC does not provide specific examples of what should be used as a face covering during this pandemic. However, it is recommended that face coverings cover the nose and mouth. They can be made from a variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk or linen. Premade cloth masks can be purchased, or made from items like scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels. These face coverings should be washed in hot water and dried on high heat in a dryer in-between uses to kill any bacteria or viruses that get on them. The CDC says to be sure to wash your hands before and after handling your face covering because it may have harmful viruses or bacteria on its surface. You also should not touch your face or face covering while wearing it out in public. Both disposable and reusable face masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth viral transmissions, because you can’t directly touch your own mouth while wearing one. Viruses, however, can be transmitted through your nose or eyes.
N95 respirators – pictured below
N95 respirators are a type of respirator. It is a tight-fitting protective device worn around the face. When people say “respirator,” they are usually referring to the N95 respirator, which gets its name from the fact that it blocks at least 95% of tiny particles, including viruses. Several brands manufacture N95 respirators, and they come in all different sizes. OSHA requires anyone using these types of masks in the workplace to participate in the Cowlitz County Respiratory Protection Program (RPP). It is strongly requested these masks be saved for medical professionals*. However, the CDC still recommends you use a medical-grade face mask if you are sick and need to leave your home to get medical care. Before your department uses N95 respirators in the workplace, please contact Risk Management for assistance and resources to ensure safe use and OSHA compliance with the RPP.
Remember that non-medical face coverings are only effective against spreading the virus if you continue to take social distancing measures and basic hygiene seriously. The bottom line? If worn correctly and combined with other virus prevention methods, surgical face masks, N95 respirators and face coverings can help lower the risk of spreading viruses, including COVID-19. However, medical-grade protection should be reserved for medical professionals or those who are actively sick and need to leave the house to get medical care. The rest of us should cover up with a bandana or cloth mask.
If you have any questions, or need additional information, please contact us.
*Note: For those departments currently participating in the Cowlitz County Respiratory Protection Program and using respirators as a part of their operations, a separate toolkit will be sent out very soon.
Risk and Procurement Manager